Qualcomm ships dual-core Snapdragon phone chipsets

Manufacturers are already designing handsets around the multimedia-centric new processors, according to Qualcomm

Qualcomm has started shipping samples of its first dual-core Snapdragon processors, which are aimed at smartphones and tablets.

The chipmaker said on Tuesday that device manufacturers have started designing handsets around the ARM-based processors, which can run up to 1.2GHz. According to Qualcomm, the multimedia-centric chipsets — the third generation of Snapdragon — come with GPUs that support OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG 1.1 graphics acceleration,  encode and decode 1080p high-definition video, and work with 24-bit WXGA 1,280x800-pixel displays.

"Qualcomm's first-generation Snapdragon chipsets set a new standard for advanced smartphones and smartbook devices, and our second-generation solutions are already shipping in volume," Qualcomm CDMA technologies chief Steve Mollenkopf said in a statement. "We are very excited by the innovation our customers are already showing as they begin designing products based on our dual-core MSM8260 and MSM8660 chipsets."

The MSM8260 and MSM8660 processors also include low-power audio engines and low-power GPS. Another dual-core Snapdragon processor — the QSD8672 — will run at up to 1.5GHz. Earlier generations of Snapdragon processors are in handsets such as Google's Nexus One Android phone and Toshiba's TG01 Windows Mobile phone.

Although most competition in mobile processors is between ARM licencees such as Texas Instruments and Samsung, a major potential rival to Snapdragon is Moorestown, the first generation of Intel's low-powered, x86-based Atom platform to target the smartphone and tablet market. Moorestown chipsets will go up to 1.5GHz for smartphones and 1.9GHz for tablets, although Intel has conceded that the processors' power efficiency does not beat that of ARM-based chipsets.


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